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What Drinks Should You Provide At Your Wedding?

 

Most people love a glass of fizz at a wedding, it might just be during the speeches to toast with or it might be straight after your ceremony. Lots of couples ask us how much alcohol they should pay for and when it should be served?

There is no right answer, every wedding is different and you can plan your day your way. There are things to consider such as the number of guests, age of your guests, and budget available. We can support you in planning around your vision and make some suggestions along the way.

A lot of venues offer drinks packages and will guide you through the process of making the right choices for you. These venues are most often those with in-house bars and therefore do not allow you to provide your drinks (without corkage) or bring in external bar companies.

There are many “no-corkage” wedding venues out there that allow you to bring external bar providers on-site or to provide your alcohol.

In the U.K. most wedding ceremonies tend to take place in the afternoon, allowing for a drinks reception afterward. During this time there are usually photographs, congratulations, drinks, and sometimes nibbles before food is served. There can be quite a lot of standing around during this period and a drink helps to make time pass more quickly! 

Consider a glass or two of fizz, a fruity Pimms, or a bottled beer to keep things light alongside a non-alcoholic option for children and non-drinkers. We love a pink lemonade with fruit as a fun and refreshing choice.

 During Dinner

Food service provides an opportunity to keep drinks simple depending on what you are having to eat. A formal sit-down meal would usually mean red and white wine provided by the couple along with water. That does not mean you cannot drink Rosé, throw in a bucket of beers for each table, or give everyone a drinks token so they can pick their dinner drink.

As a rule of thumb, more white wine is usually consumed than red and we would recommend the equivalent of half a bottle of wine per adult guest (two large glasses). If you are providing a buffet rather than a sit-down meal wine might be less appropriate.

As a bar service, we can either leave bottles on the tables and replace them as they are consumed, or we can serve guests throughout the meal as they finish their glass. 

Tea and coffee following dessert can provide a nice way to end a formal meal, allowing people to relax and prepare for the party ahead. This is not a necessity but something that can be offered and is usually welcomed by older guests.

What Type of Bar Service?

 

It is important to consider your overall budget and whether you would like guests to be able to approach the bar and order drinks paid for by yourselves throughout the day (an open bar), whether they will pay for drinks themselves (a cash bar) or if you will combine the two options.

 

Speeches and The Toast

Traditionally after food service, but sometimes before, it is usual for guests to have a glass in front of them during speeches. This is often a glass of fizz or a non-alcoholic alternative. This need not be the very best in French Champagne but can be if requested! We see many glasses of toasting drinks left on tables without being drunk. Whilst this toasting drink is normally provided by the bride and groom it has become popular for guests to simply toast with the drink they already have on the table. 

Evening

If you have extra guests arriving in the evening you might want to consider providing them with a drink on arrival, however, most guests turning up for the music and dancing do not expect this. A fully stocked bar will provide plenty of options for guests to choose from and pay for themselves. An open bar in the evening usually benefits from a few rules which you can discuss with your providers beforehand. We might suggest no shots, no double measures, and no whole bottles of wine. This tends to keep the evening flowing nicely without things potentially becoming too messy along the way. If guests would like any of those things they are welcome to pay for them themselves. 

 

Your Wedding Your Way

 

The amazing thing about a wedding is that the day is all about you. You can design a day based on your vision and to suit your budget. There is no one way to provide drinks for guests and we do not believe in asking you to choose an option from a checklist. We can throw caution to the wind and rewrite the rulebook if you choose!

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